There's always some moisture in the air. During the winter, however, air tends to have less moisture than it does during the summer. As the humidity level drops inside your home, it may lead to one or more health problems. The good news is that you can protect your health, as well as your family's health, from the effects of dry air this winter by following a few tips.
How Dry Air Can Affect Your Health
Short-term exposure to dry air generally won't cause any noticeable health effects. If you're exposed to dry air for a prolonged period, though, you may experience skin problems, such as itching, flaking and general irritation.
Our skin requires water to maintain its elasticity, vibrancy and health. Normally, airborne moisture is sufficient for this purpose. But during the winter, your skin won't be exposed to a meaningful amount of airborne moisture, which may manifest in the form of skin problems.
In addition to skin problems, dry air can also leave you more susceptible to cold and flu infections. It's believed that germs can travel more effectively in dry environments as opposed to moist or humid environments.
Install a Humidifier
Perhaps the easiest and most effective way to protect against dry air during the winter is to install a humidifier in your home. Not to be confused with a dehumidifier, a humidifier is a device that releases moisture vapor into the air. Most dehumidifiers feature a water-filled tank. When turned on, the dehumidifier will spray a light mist of water into the surrounding air. As the moisture vapor saturates the surrounding air, it raises the humidity level.
Monitor the Humidity Level
Even if you install a humidifier in your home, you still need to monitor the humidity level to ensure it's not too high nor too low. While low humidity levels often cause health problems in homeowners and family members, high humidity levels is equally concerning. If the humidity level inside your home is too high, it may encourage the growth of mold.
So, what's an appropriate humidity level? A good rule of thumb is to strive for about 40% to 50%. At 50%, the air is half saturated, meaning it's holding half of the moisture that it can hold at the given temperature. If the humidity level in your home is outside this range, it may lead to health problems for you and your family.